The pool house at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s sprawling Preston Hollow manse was buzzing with excitement Tuesday, April 12, for the Just Say Yes group’s 6th Annual Celebration, officially titled “Missing Puzzle Piece.” The reason: Candice and Tony Romo were down at one end posing graciously for photos, and all the VIP guests wanted to get close to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and his wife.
Candice’s mother, it turns out, had been instrumental in introducing Just Say Yes founder and president Dan Bailey to potential donors at a coffee some 15 years ago. And tonight, the 350 attendees—including Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Ed Franklin, Lee Ann and Alan White, and Tiffany and Paul Divis—would listen to Romo being interviewed by Bailey at the dinner fundraiser. Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) empowers youth to attain their dreams and goals—and say no to destructive choices—by educating them through student-assembly speakers and classroom curriculum.
While honorary chairs Gena and Chuck Norris weren’t able to make it, Cassandra and Avery Johnson flew in from California for the evening. Avery, the former Dallas Mavs coach who now coaches men’s basketball at the University of Alabama, presented the Avery Johnson Youth Impact Award to Lisa and Kenny. During brief remarks, Avery joked that his son Avery Jr.—a basketball player who will be transferring from Texas A&M to Alabama—is “obsessed with Tony Romo.”
Avery’s son would have been in good company at this event. During a wide-ranging conversation with Dan, Tony:
- Said that his broken clavicle is mending nicely, and that “I think I’m gonna make it through the season, so we should be fine.”
- Disclosed that his parents were his most influential role models growing up. He was reared in modest circumstances as a “little bit of an outcast,” Tony said.
- Advised today’s high school students to resist peer pressure from the “cool” kids: “It doesn’t matter. Don’t let them affect you day-to-day. Don’t let them control you. Just give it to God and live your life.”
- Criticized the often-negative effects of social media. “This social media world is so not real life,” Tony said. “I would say, a.) don’t read it. But b.), if you do, be unemotionally attached. People don’t really care about you that much. Life will go on. Just do your job and everything will be fine.”
“Missing Puzzle Piece” also featured a dinner by Chamberlain’s and an auction and raffle, with Louis Murad calling the shots. The fundraising aspect was important, Bailey explained, because Just Say Yes is aiming to triple its annual budget in three years, from $900,000 currently to $2.7 million. With the larger amount, he said, Just Say Yes would be able to reach 250,000 students a year.